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Engaging Families and the Community to Address D isproportionality. Presenters Julie Havill-Weems and Maura Robinson. Today We Will…. Begin to learn how to communicate with families and the community to develop a relationship that addresses disproportionality

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engaging families and the community to address d isproportionality

Engaging Families and the Community to Address Disproportionality


Julie Havill-Weems and Maura Robinson

today we will
Today We Will…
  • Begin to learn how to communicate with families and the community to develop a relationship that addresses disproportionality
  • Explore how the parent-professional relationship impacts student outcomes
  • Review frameworks for understanding family values, beliefs, and actions
  • Look at examples of practices to connect with families and the community
post it
  • What would you like to know?
  • Beginning your question with, “How to…” write on a post-it what you would like to know “how to” about family and community engagement to address disproportionality.
  • Include your contact info.
  • Maura will collect post-its .
  • We will review together.
take a gallery walk
Take a Gallery Walk
  • Review the statements on the charts around the room.
  • Note your thoughts and reactions to the statements
  • We will discuss them when we re-group
why are so many minority students in special education
Why Are So Many Minority Students in Special Education?
  • Beth Harry and Janette Klinger, 2006
  • Studied 12 schools in one school district over 4 years: included; interviews with parents, students, school and district personnel, observations of classrooms and meetings, psych. evals., and home and community settings, and review of relevant documents
  • Found that…

“overrepresentation of minorities in special education programs is caused by much more than the existence of intrinsic or family based deficits. Indeed, the perception that a child is disabled results from a complex weave of widely varying beliefs, policies, and practices at all levels – family and community, classroom, school, district, state and federal government, and society at large (p. 182).

the posture of cultural reciprocit y
The Posture of Cultural Reciprocity

Identify the cultural values that are embedded in the professional interpretation of a student’s difficulties or in the recommendation for service.

~ Kalyanpur and Harry 1999

the posture of cultural reciprocity
The Posture of Cultural Reciprocity

Find out whether the family being served recognizes and values these assumptions and, if no, how their view differs from that of the professional.

~ Kalyanpur and Harry 1999

the posture of cultural reciprocity1
The Posture of Cultural Reciprocity

Acknowledge and give explicit respect to any cultural difference identified, and fully explain the cultural basis of the professional assumptions.

~ Kalyanpur and Harry 1999

the posture of cultural reciprocity2
The Posture of Cultural Reciprocity

Through discussion and collaboration, set about determining the most effective way of adapting professional interpretations or recommendations to the value system of this family.

~ Kalyanpur and Harry 1999

decreasing cross cultural dissonance
Decreasing Cross-Cultural Dissonance

“It is imperative that professionals recognize that much of special education policy and practice emerges from the prevailing values and ideals of the dominant mainstream – values that may not always be held by minority cultures – so that they may decrease the potential for cross-cultural dissonance.”

~ Kalyanpur and Harry 1999

affixing blame
Affixing Blame

“Too often, however, information about inadequate family resources or family instability is used to affix blame, creating an adversarial climate between home and school. Rather than simply blaming parents as the cause of discipline problems, effective disciplinary programs forge a partnership with parents and the community.”

Skiba and Peterson, 2000

parent training
Parent Training

“Many school systems have attempted to institute ‘parent training’ programs for poor parents and parents of color. While the intentions of these programs are good, they can only truly be useful when educators understand the realities with which such parents must contend and why they do what they do. Often, middle-class school professionals are appalled by what they see of poor parents, and most do not have the training or the ability to see past surface behaviors to meanings behind parents’ actions.”

Lisa Delpit

Other People’s Children

  • What are the attitudes and assumptions held by school staff about the families of the students who are disproportionately represented in your district?
  • How do they expect families to act and react?
  • What do they think about families who don’t act/react the way they expect?

What structures, procedures, policies, and/or practices are in place that are barriers to communication and relationship building with the families of students who are disproportionally represented

in your district ?

so what can you do
So, What Can You Do?
  • Develop a Posture of Cultural Reciprocity among school personnel
  • Review structures, procedures, policies, and practices to identify which are barriers to connecting with families; revise as necessary
  • Focus on the development of individual relationships among school staff and families to combat negative assumptions and cultural bias
family core v alues acting reacting in society
Family Core Values – Acting & Reacting in Society

Building learning skills of survival

Making sense of society

Use information to share with others

Information learned may not be acquired information – (Old wives tales).

What I learned from others

Bonding and building relationships with others

Dealing with Forgivingness

Talents and gifts each family member has or brings

What is a Family?

Expressing Personal Style

Being Assertive

Bouncing Back

What are the supports for families in the community?

Survival skills

Past experiences with authority figures

Social Status


Responsibility of power

Who is the primary care giver?

© 2000 M. G. Robinson, Inc.

parents and teachers t alking t ogether
Parents and Teachers Talking Together
  • What do we want for our students? (These are wishes and dreams)
  • What do we need to do to get what we want? (These are actions)

Anne T. Henderson, Karen L. Mapp, Vivian R. Johnson, and Don Davies. Beyond the Bake Sale, 2007.

community involvement1
Community Involvement
  • Which leaders in our community can best connect us to groups that work with minority and low income parents, residents and others?
  • In what ways will we ensure these leaders and organizations are involved early on?
  • What considerations – time, expense, outreach efforts – must be made to accommodate participants?

Building Support for Better Schools. SEDL 2000 www.sedl.org

building capacity check list
Building Capacity – Check List
  • Is the school’s racial and cultural diversity openly discussed at school meetings and includes the staff, families and community?
  • Does the school’s curriculum reflect the cultures of families? Are books and materials about families’ cultures in each classroom, library and media center?
  • Are extra efforts are made to recruit staff, volunteers that reflect the diversity in the cultures in the school?
  • Is the PTA/PTO dominated by any one group of parents? Do the officers reflect the school’s diversity?
  • Do activities and events honor all the cultures in the school throughout the year?
  • Do images around the school, including information going out in the community, honor and represent the cultures in the school?
  • Are families’ cultural traditions, values, and practices discussed in class?
  • Is the student culture in the school setting considered? What is acceptable behavior among the student population?
improving your family community engagement efforts
Improving Your Family & Community Engagement Efforts
  • In light of the information shared so far, let’s review the “How to…” questions posted at the beginning of the session.
  • What ideas do you have to answer these questions?
the indiana partnerships center a parent and information resource center
The Indiana Partnerships CenterA Parent and Information Resource Center
  • Parent Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs) support the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and its most important goals: parent involvement and school accountability.

Offers Schools and Districts…

  • The Indiana Academy for Parent and School Leadership - The purpose of the Indiana Academy for Parent and School Leadership (Academy) is to grow leaders, who work to improve family, school, and community partnerships for student success.
  • Workshops including:
    • Fathers Too, The Right Question Project, Books on Board, Developing Parent Centers, Family Math and Science, Family Literacy and more
  • Newsletters and materials to support meaningful connections with families and the community
  • www.fscp.org; 1-866-391-1039
references and resources
References and Resources
  • De Anda, D. (1984). Parent education, cultural pluralism, and public policy: The uncertain connection. IN R. Haskins & Adams (Eds.), Parent education and public policy (pp. 331-345).
  • Sue, D.W., & Sue, D. (1990). Counseling the culturally different (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
  • Wasserman, G.A. Rauh, V.A., Garcia-Castro, M., Necos, B. (1990). Psychosocial attributes and life experiences of disadvantaged minority mothers: Age and ethnic variations. Child Development, 61, 566-580
  • Kalyanpur, M. & Harry, B. (1999). Culture in Special Education: Building Reciprocal Family-Professional Relationships. Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. Baltimore, Maryland.
references and resources1
References and Resources
  • Harry, B. & Klinger, J. (2006) Why Are So Many Minority Students in Special Education? Teachers College Press, New York.
  • Henderson, A. T., Mapp, K. L., Johnson, V.R., & Davies, D. (2007). Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships. The New Press, New York.
  • Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. Building Support for Better Schools: Seven Steps for Hard-to-Reach Communities. www.sedl.org.
  • Delpit, Lisa.(2006) Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom. (2nd ed.) The New Press, New York.
  • Indiana’s Vision for RTI: Family and Community Partnerships http://www.doe.in.gov/indiana-rti/partnerships.html